Growing up I dreamed of having my own house. A house with a garden. I would have a beautiful wife and sweet children. Daughters. They would do good in school and I would buy them pink bikes which they could ride around the garden.

It was a foolish dream. As soon as I was old enough to understand just how foolish the dream had been I decided to leave this country as soon as I could. When I was 14 I started working and every month I saved some money for this journey. Last summer my best friend Zirak told me about the borders to Europe. They had been opened for the people coming from the Middle East, the people looking for a better place, the people like me and Zirak. We packed our things and left two days later. My father was proud. My mother was worried. My sister called me a fool and my fiancé called me coward. But I went. Because I was going to make my life in Europe. I would go to Germany and work. Make money. Build my own house. Live in freedom, peace, safety and wealth.  Because all of that is possible in Germany. There is no poverty there. They will give me money. I would learn the language and I would finish university there. I would make enough money to send something to my mother every month and she would not worry anymore.

I stepped on that boat believing my life would change. Poverty, violence, hunger and the iron shackles of a religious that was not my own would be behind me. The feeling of the waves on the open sea represented the freedom my parents had never felt. Something new. Something so new I feared it like I had never feared anything in my life. I cried like my little sister when we finally saw the shores of the first European Islands in the dark distance. Zirak and I stepped on that shore believing we had made it. Europe. Here there was freedom. Here there was opportunity. Here we would make something of ourselves.

But none of that happened. I am a prisoner. Again. The view from the barb-wired fences of this camp shows me that I wasn’t wrong: there is freedom, and money, and opportunity here. Just not for me. Not for me and the several thousand other people who arrived here the same way I did. We have no money, no ways to defend ourselves from those who steal our food, and we are forced again to live by the rules of other that make no sense to us.

I lie awake every night, hoping to wake up.

It was just another foolish dream.


Names are fictional. Story is a combination of true events and accounts.


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